Media Management Alumna Speaks on her Career at Nielsen

"[Job Seeking] is so much about the connections you make." This quote was the most important piece of advice guest speaker and University of Miami School of Communication alumna Kate Barnett shared with the members of the Media Management Association at the last meeting. During her talk, she retraced her nine-year journey from student to the professional world. Barnett graduated in December 2008 from UM and moved up the ranks of audience measurement giant Nielsen to become its vice president for digital client solutions.

From a young age, Barnett developed a passion for television. She would monitor the ratings of her favorite shows and attempt to discover whether these shows had been canceled or renewed. At UM, Barnett earned a bachelor’s degree in economics, coupled with a bachelor's degree in communication focusing on media management, both suiting her dream of one day working for Nielsen. She remembered vividly her media management curriculum, including media research and media programming courses, that prepared her for her career ahead.

The initial path of entry was hardly glamorous and took place during the Great Recession of 2008. After applying to 10 different job postings at Nielsen, Barnett had the opportunity of participating in a rotational program where she took part in every sector of the company, eventually working part-time as an analyst. Barnett’s dedication to Nielsen was apparent to all who knew her. Later on, a phone call from another department led her to a full-time position as an administrative assistant. Never did Barnett imagine that her climb up the corporate ladder would lead to a job in sales. After several promotions supported by various bosses, Barnett established her role on the digital team, selling television data to digital clients from Videology and The Trade Desk, to Hulu and Snapchat.

Throughout the process of measuring digital advertisements, Barnett strengthened her understanding of the ever-changing and complex digital ecosystem. Nielsen, she explained, continues to prioritize and cater to television clients, even though a transition to digital platforms is unstoppable.

When asked about Nielsen’s relevance against companies that depend on in-house data for audience metrics, Barnett stressed the value of third party, independent measurement. She added that internal data research would be synonymous with doing one’s own homework and relying solely on one set of eyes rather than receiving verification from an outside source.

On repeated occasions, Barnett referred to, and recommend students read, The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, a recently released book by Scott Galloway. Nielsen has changed considerably over the years, but so has the media ecosystem, a fact that was not lost on Barnett's evolving perspective of the media business.